Rhythmic movement of arms and legs during exercise has been thought to improve brain plasticity and recovery after injury. REAC is a program in which this type of rhythmic movement is done with a metronome, used for an auditory cue. Patients who use it complete exercises that-for instance-alternate hands and feet, use bilateral movement in a single motion, walk rhythmically, or use cross-midline movements.
A recent case study was published about a TBI patient who used Rhythmex, a REAC program, for a year. She started the program nine years after her injury, and had right hemiparesis. After a year on the program, the patient showed decreased spasticity, increased sensation in arms and legs, and smoother overall movement. Additionally, she showed cognitive improvement demonstrated by a significant increased in IQ score. As a result, the patient had the confidence to increase her independence and soon moved into her own apartment, started looking for a job, and spent more time socializing.
A REAC program is easy enough to administer at home, and, as seen in this case study, can lead to dramatic motor, cognitive, and psychological improvements.
Goldshtrom Y, Knorr G, & Goldshtrom I. Rhythmic exercises in rehabilitation of TBI patients: A case report. Journal of Bodywork & Movement Therapies. (October 2010).